For many having a baby is the most exciting time in a parent’s life, however, it is also one of the most stressful. Balancing a parent’s sleep, work and life schedules around an infant’s needs can be daunting.
One problem some women have is maintaining a healthy weight while breastfeeding their baby. Breast milk is best for your child. Doctors recommend that a mother breastfeed, however for some women, who lose too much weight during breastfeeding, becoming too thin is a big concern.
How Many Calories Do I Need To Eat To Breastfeed Without Losing Weight.
It takes a lot of calories for a body to produce breast milk. Most women need at least 500 extra calories a day in order to produce a day’s supply of milk for their baby. A lot of women don’t need to worry about burning these extra calories because, women gain weight while they’re pregnant.
Breastfeeding helps mothers lose the extra pounds they may have gained during pregnancy. For some mothers, though, losing those extra calories can make it hard for them to maintain a healthy weight.
Women with high metabolism or who had a difficult pregnancy with frequent nausea and vomiting may have actually lost weight after childbirth.
The addition weigh lost during breastfeed can be a concern for women who are losing too much weight. In general, if a woman wants to gain weight while breastfeeding, she needs to add at least 500 calories a day to maintain her postpartum weight and eat an additional 500 calories to gain weight.
The next worry for women trying to gain weight after childbirth is adding the 1000 extra calories in a healthy way.
Sure, we could all say, go out and eat three hamburgers and a whole pizza everyday and you’ll more than satisfy the calorie requirement, but most women, especially new moms, don’t want to compromise their healthy by eating junk foods.
What to Eat When Trying to Gain Weight
As fun as it might be to eat anything you want, doing so might harm both you and the baby. Having donuts for breakfast everyday or splurging on fast food, might sound fun, but it’s not a good option for gaining weight in a healthy way.
In order to maintain one’s energy and stamina while battling sleep deprivation and newborn parenting, mothers should eat foods rich in protein, fat and nutrients.
Snack foods like peanuts, almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds are an easy option for grazing between meals.
In general breastfeeding moms should eat at least six times a day as well as drink eight to ten glasses of water for a healthy body and milk supply. In addition to regular meals, breastfeeding moms should also snack frequently.
Other good snack foods are avocados, nut butters, whole grain breads and pasta, whole grain crackers and cheese, dried fruits and lean meats. Every morning, when baby goes down for a nap, prepare a snack assortment for you to grab throughout the day.
One of the biggest challenges to gaining weight is having the time to eat enough food.
Perhaps this is where your partner can help you on your breastfeeding journey. If you premake snack bags or containers ahead of time, you’ll be more likely to grab one and eat it.
Put bags of nuts, dried fruits, crackers, pretzels and jerkys out where you can easily grab them throughout the day. In the fridge make bags of cut cheeses, cold meats, like chicken, ham and turkey in a place where they can be grabbed easily.
Lastly, try making yourself a protein shake every morning. Put dates, figs, avocados, peanuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds in with whole yogurt and fresh fruit juice with a splash of protein powder to make a protein rich start to your day that is full of good fats.
Feeling Discouraged or Depressed Because of Weight Loss and Lack of Appetite
For some women, everything they try to gain weight fails, leading them to feel depleted and depressed.
Having a newborn or a young infant is extremely hard work.
Most people don’t consider the toll sleep deprivation and a being’s one hundred percent dependency can take on your mind, body and soul.
A lot of parents turn to exercise to increase their dopamine, get out of the house and feel better about their general health and mental outlook.
For a woman who is trying to gain weight while breastfeeding, this extra exercise will often further deplete their calorie stores.
If you are having trouble maintaining your weight while breastfeeding consider forgoing the aerobic and high impact exercise for a more low key kind of work out. Take your baby for a stroll or try yoga, leisurely bike rides and meditation instead of high impact cardio.
Have calm music playing in the background if you are staying home with your baby.
If you’re already back to work, use your lunch hour to listen to soft music. Music soothes the mind and body. If you’re stressed, sleep deprived and frustrated, which are feelings many parents of young children often have, your body can burn more calories.
The effort it takes your body to chemically supply your brain with all the stress hormones it needs to keep you anxious, can actually cause you to lose your appetite and therefore lose more weight.
Keeping the atmosphere in your home calm and serene, can help you slow down and give your body the break it needs to utilize those calories effectively.
Making the choice to breastfeed and stick with it for as long as it is right for you and your baby, is an incredible gift you are giving your child.
Take time to congratulate yourself for all of the efforts you have made to give your child a great early start in life.
Don’t forget about you. Ask aunts, grandparents and friends to help for a few hours and go out to dinner with your significant other and/or friends to enjoy a meal.
Restaurants usually serve delicious food, that is often high in calories. Savor the rich meal and celebrate the beauty, joy and unique complexity of parenthood, you deserve it.